It’s a gas gas gas

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Rent-stabilized tenants of a Lafayette Avenue apartment building say their new landlord is trying to harass them from the building so the company can raise rents to market levels.

The latest alleged tactic wielded by the Dermot Company, residents say, has been shutting off the gas for six days to all 34 units in the Fort Greene dwelling across the street from the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Dermot, which bought building between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street last December, denied that the gas stoppage was part of a strategy to drive out tenants paying low rents from the building so that high-priced residents could be brought in.

“That’s certainly not the case,” said company Vice President David Sorice. He told The Brooklyn Paper that the gas supply was turned off last Thursday due to a “clerical error” that allowed the building’s May invoice to go unpaid.

“We’re doing everything we can to get service restored to the building,” said Sorice, whose company is best known for its conversion of Brooklyn’s tallest building, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building at 1 Hansen Pl., into an all-luxury residential building.

But tenants did not believe the development company’s denial. “They’ve done major capital improvements — landscaping, work on the roof, new lighting fixtures. It looks great, but how come you [Dermot] don’t have money to pay the gas company?” asked Joe Presley, who has lived in a rent-stabilized unit since 1992.

“We’re just being harassed by Dermot,” he added, saying that the elevator in the six-story building has been out of order for a suspiciously long time and he knows of neighbors who have longstanding requests for repairs in their apartments that have not been addressed.

A tenant advocacy group says that Dermot has had a spotty record since it began purchasing buildings in Fort Greene in the last couple of years.

“I don’t how they’re having problems paying their gas bills when they’re buying and renovating new buildings all the time. It seems questionab­le,” said Elana Shneyer, lead organizer at the Pratt Area Community Council. “At the very least, it’s poor management style, and based on the activities they’re engaged in elsewhere, it seems very suspicious.”

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Sunset Resident from Sunset Park says:
Dermot! not Good News!
Sept. 9, 2008, 4:19 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!